The Nightshade Chronicles is a young adult fantasy trilogy published in the UK between 1996 and 1998 as part of Scholastic’s short-lived Point Fantasy imprint. It was inspired by my fascination with the idea of secret books - fabled tomes of ancient lore containing esoteric knowledge - and the plot centres on the search for one such legendary grimoire, The Book of Shadows. I was also interested in having a hero who had been maimed in battle; the story begins with protagonist Dalveen Leandor - Nightshade - losing his sword arm.
From the publisher’s blurb: “Nightshade was once the best warrior in Delgarvo. But defeat at the hands of the evil sorcerer Avoch-Dar has left him without his sword
arm - a warrior deeply wounded.
“Now Avoch-Dar has returned and intends to lay waste to Delgarvo. Only Nightshade can stop him. But what use is a one-armed hero against such powerful enchantment?
“Then a prophecy is revealed. Only by recovering the fabled Book of Shadows can Nightshade defeat Avoch-Dar. To do otherwise is to court certain death ... “
Cover art by Paul Young.
From the publisher’s blurb: “The foul sorcerer Avoch-Dar has slipped through his pursuers’ grasp, taking the Book of Shadows with him. And once he has unlocked the book’s mysteries he will return to Delgarvo, invincible ...
“No one but the mighty warrior Nightshade realises this danger. And with the book gone he feels more powerless than ever. But the sorcerer has left behind his enchanted crystal. Could this be the key to his own destruction? Nightshade is determined to find out – for the fate of all Delgarvo is at stake ... “
Cover art by David Wyatt.
From the publisher’s blurb: “Evil sorcerer Avoch-Dar is now at his capital, Vaynor. Surrounded by invulnerable demons and the Book of Shadows he is hell-bent on destroying not only Delgarvo but the rest of the world as well ...
“Meanwhile, Nightshade is gathering forces for the final confrontation. Taking the battle to Avoch-Dar, Nightshade knows this is their only chance for peace. But there is one last hope - the fabled weapon Cat’s Claw. Nightshade must find it or evil darkness will reign on earth ... forever.”
Cover art by David Wyatt.
(published by Thorpe)
I like the way the covers of these editions were themselves made to look like ancient tomes. Here are the three stages the artwork for the first volume went through:
And the cover of volume two without overprint:
An omnibus edition and a special, limited edition tenth anniversary omnibus edition:
My French publisher asked if I’d be prepared to do a light re-write of the trilogy to bring it up from young adult to adult, making it more acceptable to the adult readership I’d established with some of my other books published in France. Consequently I added a little more explicitness to the dialogue and descriptive passages here and there. So the French version of the trilogy differs from the English and other foreign editions in that respect.
Publisher: WydawnictwoRTW/Prawdziwe Fantasy.
Although they’re supposed to, publishers don’t always supply author copies.
Consequently I don’t have volumes two and three.
Publisher: Ediciones Gaviota.
A variant cover of volume two:
I don’t have a copy of volume three.
You can read the prologue and the first chapter of The Book of Shadows here.
This summary/gallery compiled August 2020.
© Stan Nicholls
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